What is the difference between a charge pipe and a downpipe? The answer to this question is often based on several different factors, specifically the actual role that these components play in your vehicle’s engine.
Also, even though both play a key function in the engine’s smooth operation, they still have distinct roles in enhancing the engine’s efficiency.
Therefore, before you can understand the differences between each, you will also need to know the answer to the questions listed below.
What is a Charge Pipe?
A charge pipe can be described as a mandrel-bent tube that is connected to a vehicle’s intake manifold and its intercooler piping system. It is a piece of hardware that many car enthusiasts use to increase the performance and power of their engines.
This tube is normally made out of one of the following materials:
- Stainless steel
- polymers or composites
Also, In the perfect design, here is how the air in the charge pipe flows.
- Step 1: from the turbocharger to the intercooler of the vehicle’s automotive engine.
- Step 2: Then it flows to the charge pipe
- Step 3: And in time, the air will flow to the engine via the intake valve.
In essence, the ultimate function of the charge pipe is to carry the turbo-charged air to the car’s engine. It is also important to note that the charge pipe is either connected to the BOV (Blow-off Valve) or the DV (Diverter Valve).
What is a Downpipe?
The downpipe can be described as a specific part of tubing that directs the exhaust air from the vehicle’s turbine housing to the car’s exhaust system.
Its overall function is to allow the exhaust gasses in the engine to get out with ease. Therefore, a certified mechanic will connect the downpipe to the turbine housing of the turbocharger.
In essence, the down pipe’s function is to minimize the emission of gasses like nitrogen oxide, carbon oxide, and any other damaging gasses.
Benefits of the charge pipe
There are many great benefits to upgrading your vehicle’s engine with the installation of a charge pipe. Some common benefits include the following:
- Increased power and torque in the engine
- Reduced emissions
- Increased durability of the engine
- Improved fuel economy in some cases
- More efficient and effective engine cooling
- Protection from heat and debris
Each of these benefits is usually what car enthusiasts are looking for, especially when they want an increase in power and torque.
Also, if a car has an exhaust system that generates too much back pressure, the car owner may want to add a charge pipe to help reduce this type of pressure.
Disadvantages of the charge pipe
Unfortunately, just like there are pros to installing a charge pipe, there are downsides as well. Therefore, it is important to weigh the benefits and disadvantages before making this type of decision.
For instance, if the charge pipe is an upgrade that can give your car better performance, fuel efficiency, and other advantages that your car does not have without it, it may be a great idea to install the charge pipe.
Yet, there are some disadvantages that you need to pay close attention to. For instance, if the charge pipe fails, it will allow the pressure that is produced to be released into the atmosphere.
Instead, the pressure from the charge pipe will go into the car’s engine, and the ending result is unfiltered air directed into the engine. This means the engine will also have a very low power instead of high performance.
It is also important to note that these failures are usually caused by:
- Oil Clogs
- Carbon Deposits
These problems are usually due to several different issues including, high boost pressures or the engine’s vibrations, and can lead to engine malfunctions and loss of performance.
There are many great benefits to upgrading your vehicle’s engine with the installation of a downpipe. Some of the most common benefits include the following:
- steers gasses away from the turbine
- helps create better power
- better engine lifespan
- fuel economy better with aftermarket parts
- alter the vehicle’s sound
- less wear and excessive heat under the hood,
Again, each of these benefits is normally what car enthusiasts are looking for today.
Disadvantages of downpipe
Before you buy and install a downpipe, you need to know if this is the best option and deal for you. Even though there are benefits that you may want to take advantage of, there are downsides to installing these upgrades, too.
For example, if you are installing an aftermarket downpipe, here are 3 disadvantages that you may want to consider before doing this installation.
- Exhaust smells have a slightly unpleasant odor
- Car warranty is voided after installation, even though the AC and electronic gadgets may remain under these policies.
- Not street legal – Designed more for off-road use
Differences between the downpipe and charge pipe
When you do your research, you will most likely find that there are some clear differences between the charge pipe and the downpipe. Here are 4 major differences that every car owner should be familiar with.
The ultimate function of the charge pipe is to carry the turbo-charged air to the car’s engine.
It is for peace of mind only and does not have anything to do with saving your turbos
The down pipe’s function is to minimize the emission of gasses like nitrogen oxide, carbon oxide, and any other damaging gasses.
Designed to make the system more efficient by lowering back pressure and EGTs
Similarities between the downpipe and charge pipe
Both the charge pipe and the downpipe are two components of a turbo engine. These components are considered to be upgrades to the engine and will increase power, efficiency, and performance.
Car enthusiasts are always looking for ways to maximize the performance of their engines. This is also why some car owners are looking to upgrade their engines with either a charge pipe or a downpipe.
Because these are 2 critical components of a turbo application, they are usually ideal for increasing performance, efficiency, and the power of the engine. So, it is important to learn the differences between each and their functions before investing.